Sun burned by Hanna's fab foursome

GEOFF MATTHEWS -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

We tried finesse, but then discovered we didn't really have any. We tried dazzling them with our wit but these superhumans even managed to control themselves in the face of our best lines.

Heck, we even threw in some unorthodox moves that no one on the opposing team could have seen before ... the 180-degree spin turn delivery, the bellyflop, the stutter slide.

Wow. It was almost like we were up against pros. Oh. Wait a minute. We were up against pros and they showed no mercy.

NO MATCH

Team Ottawa Sun was just no match for Team Jenn Hanna in a charity curling match played out at Hanna's home rink -- the Ottawa Curling Club.

Things started going wrong for the Sun team of editor-in-chief Mike Therien, sports reporter Barre Campbell, news copy editor Dave Sali and myself roughly about the time we took to the ice for our warmups.

Hanna and the rest of her rink -- third Joelle Sabourin, second Dawn Askin and lead Stephanie Hanna -- took turns making long, gliding slides out of the hack with their momentum carrying them almost to the far hog line.

Team Sun, meanwhile, warmed up by passing around a pitcher of draft beer and poking each other with their brooms.

OUT TURN REJECTED

Hanna offered us an out from the pending humiliation, suggesting that we divide up -- two Sun staffers paired with two pros on each team -- but Campbell was having none of that. See, kids, how beer can cloud your judgment?

So off we went, us against them. One of the best teams in all of Canada against four guys who, collectively, might have played 100 games.

If they were taking it easy on us it didn't show, as the Hanna rink set up guards, came around them, tapped us back and in effect put on a curling clinic.

Sali was supposed to be our ringer. Born and raised in the curling mecca of Saskatchewan, he ought to be a natural.

"Sure, I played all through high school," boasted Sali, who then amazed us with a series of face plants as he delivered his first few rocks.

Okay, Campbell's got to be the real thing, we reasoned. He had his own curling shoes for heavens sake, and spent much of last spring following around the ladies as they made their Scott Tournament of Hearts challenge. Some of their skill and technique must have rubbed off on him.

Campbell's mystique was damaged, though, when he tried to slide out of the hack with his gripper still in place on his right shoe.

Even our coach, Sun publisher Rick Gibbons, could scarcely bear to watch as we sailed rocks through the house, wrecked out front and found various ways to beat ourselves.

"I thought the team would be stronger if I didn't play," said Gibbons. "Now I'm not so sure."

GENEROUS OPPONENTS

Hanna and her teammates were generous to their less than worthy competitors, encouraging us with compliments such as "good line" and "nice sweeping," even when the results were less than spectacular.

Halfway through the match we swallowed our pride, switched up the teams and finished with a competitive flourish. And then repaired to the bar, where we really knew what we were doing, raising our glasses to the cash donation we made to the Ottawa Food Bank for the chance to play with the pros.


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